He is snoozing in an armchair next to me as the boat engine rumbles away behind us. Fuelling the warm radiators, the hot water, the cosiness we find ourselves in, a week after he joined me. A week after our seven year old long distance relationship transformed into one where we share the same address and go up the stairs to bed together every night.
This us started online. It was not meant to become something that would cause us both to unpick fabric we had been weaving with every intention of wearing ’til death us do part. To those that might judge us I would say you cannot judge me more harshly than I would judge myself. And yet inspite of this I know I would take this same path again because life is short. In the end I want our time together more than I want to be right or good.
Our first week has been spent creating a space for him to work in my house and then coming away on holiday on a narrowboat. We have learned to navigate locks, maintain a bilge pump, shop for food you can cook in a galley and find outdoor barbecues out of season.
If I had any doubts about the relationship having a future (I haven’t) they were discounted when he woke with such enthusiasm this morning for the task of clearing the fishing line from the bilge that it made me grin.
When we moor up I leap, he throws. I hold the rope whilst he bangs in the pegs that will hold us steady against a bank that a wild creature has scraped away leaving claw marks as a reminder that this is not our territory but is borrowed from them.
It is a team effort to find a safe place to sojourn. We are a team, a good one, one that runs on laughter and lots of tea. One that reacts quickly to peril and savours small simple pleasures together. The turquoise flash of a kingfisher swooping over and in front of us. The multitude of sloes on the trees we pass that have me leaping and pointing excitedly. I am Bob Mortimer to his cool collected Paul Whitehouse and I fall over with the sane regularity as he looks on in similar bemusement.
We while away our evening listening to music, playing crib (in my case really badly), eating better food than we could buy in a pub, and drinking wine. A sunwarmed Rioja for him, a frosted Sauvignon Blanc from a new terroir for me.
All the way through we tell each other stories we have already told before to others. Allowing ourselves to pick up the threads of our lives so far and to weave them together into a new piece of fabric that we can enjoy together.